October 2019

Village of Forest Hills
Council Meeting
Tuesday, October 1, 2019 – 6:00 pm
Jackson County Recreation Center, Cullowhee NC

The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Kolleen Begley

Councilmember Niall Michelsen

Councilmember Clark Corwin

Councilmember Jerry Rice, III


The following members of the Council were absent:

Councilmember Jonathan Brooks


The following Non-Council members were Present:

Stephanie Gibson, Clerk

Joe Walker, WCU Assoc. VC for Facilities Mgmt.   


  1. Call to order:  at 6:00pm Mayor Begley called the meeting to order.  
  1. Announcements: 
  • ReminderPlease silence cell phones for meeting
  • Semi-annual Community Roadside Litter Pickup now scheduled for Saturday, November 2nd at 9:00am
  • Elections are held Tuesday, November 5th (Forest Hills votes at Jackson County Rec Center)
  • Next monthly Council meeting will be held Tuesday, November 12th at 6:00pm at the Jackson County Rec Center, Cullowhee
  • All meeting dates/times/venues are posted on the calendar widget, on the Forest Hills website and in the Sylva Herald. 
  1. Approval of Agenda – Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve the agenda, Councilmember Rice seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 
  1. WCU Parking Garage/Deck update:  Joe Walker, WCU Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities gave an update on the WCU Parking Deck, he said that the first parking deck will be constructed at the North Baseball field (right across Hwy.107 from the Forest Hills entrance), the bids will close as of 10-31-19 and the projected start date for the project will be May 2020 with an April 2021 completion.  Mr. Walker said that the deck will net 555 spaces for a total of 985 spaces including the 430 spaces on the bottom.  He said that the parking area will be primarily a commuter lot. 

        Mr. Walker said that WCU is also currently working with the Department of Transportation to try and get an easement to expand the creek lot in front of the                  Ramsey building to expand that parking by about 100 spaces.  Also, WCU is contracting to have the façade of the Ramsey Center replaced, he said they are                  changing the color to something that will blend in better and they should begin work on that in the next few weeks with a potential completion date of October,              2020. 

Councilmember Corwin asked if there will be any differences in the traffic pattern, Mr. Walker said that DOT has required an extension be added on Forest Hills Road (the road across Hwy.107 from North Country Club Drive) and they are working with DOT to consider getting cross walk lighting.  

Councilmember Rice asked if the WCU band might practice in another area with the changes, he noted that it is very loud outside his residence, Mr. Walker said there is no plan to change practice areas at this time, but that they do rotate where they hold practice during each semester.  

Mayor Begley thanked Mr. Walker for responding affirmatively to her request that WCU Facilities assist with the roadside litter cleanup after home footballs games, not only where their overflow parking is along Hwy.107 but also the overflow parking at the entrance area roads of Forest Hills. 

  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes – September 3, 2019 Regular Council Meeting: Councilmember Michelsen made a motion to approve the minutes; Councilmember Corwin seconded the motion, unanimously approved.  (All meeting minutes are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) 
  1. Acceptance of Financial Report & Checklist for the month of September 2019:  Councilmember Rice made a motion to accept the financial report; Councilmember Michelsen seconded the motion, unanimously approved.  (All financial reports are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) 
  1. Jackson County small municipal Grant Application:  Kolleen Begley – Mayor Begley said that Jackson County is offering each of the 4 municipalities in Jackson County another grant opportunity for up to $2,500 for each municipality and applications are due by 11-1-19.  The idea of the grants is to apply for something that would not only benefit the local municipality but would benefit the greater community of Jackson County residents as well.  Mayor Begley discussed litter control as something that would fit that intent.  She said that one idea discussed was for trash containers to be placed behind the Forest Hills entrance sign where the picnic table currently is, and near Stadium View Drive.  She said that DOT said that was ok as long as the containers are not near the road and that we are responsible for removing the trash.  She mentioned that pick up could possibly be shared by The Summit and Prospect Western since they already have garbage pick-up.  Mayor Begley said that she had priced some nicer-looking stable outdoor containers to match the picnic table from Uline and they were between $300 - $400 each.  She felt this might be a component to a solution for controlling future litter and would like to submit this in the grant application, Council agreed.  

Councilmember Michelsen mentioned the Farmer’s Market making use of the Forest Hills Assembly Building, the tables and chairs, for Tuesday’s in the winter.  Mayor Begley responded that they might have been referring to the Prospect Western clubhouse which is the building next to the Forest Hills Assembly Building, but that she would ask about it.  

  1. Public Comment:  Ron Yount said that he doesn’t feel that animals being at the Farmer’s Market as discussed previously would be a good idea, citing sanitary reasons.  

Nilofer Couture said that there continues to be issues with speeding on NCC Drive, she said that someone hit the pole near her home and knocked out the power, she suggested possibly having a speed bump installed.  Nilofer said she is thinking of putting up red flags and mentioned that having a mirror installed might be a good idea.  Mayor Begley said that it is a state-maintained road so DOT would have to address those options. 

Debbie Rowland and Ron Yount both said that police patrol working in the Village are welcome to make use of their driveways if that would assist in monitoring for speeding vehicles. 

  1. Reports:  
  • Mayor’s Report: (meetings, ordinance violations) Mayor Begley reported that she contacted DOT to request changing the timing of the traffic light on North Country Club Drive approaching Hwy. 107 and they responded with some adjustments.  She said that they said they will continue to monitor it and asked that the community give her feedback to pass on to DOT if there are any specific times where the traffic light may need to be adjusted further.

    She gave an update on the Litter Letter Project stating that the property manager at Prospect Western, Marley Cunningham, said she would manage the project, has      volunteers lined up to work on the project, and that she had gotten Southern Concrete to donate the rebar, and lined up a welder to build the letters.  Marley’s idea        for the letters is:  Whee Love (with “Love” being a heart next to the letters spelling Whee.) 

Mayor Begley asked Councilmember Brooks to get stats on student enrollment at WCU and he provided the following:  

1997 – 6,780

2013 – 2014 – 10,000

2019 – 12,167

Mayor Begley and Councilmember Brooks held a meeting on September 12th with WCU Police Chief - Steven Lillard, Chief Deputy Jackson County Sheriff - Kim Hooper,  Lieutenant Jackson County Sheriff’s Dept. - Rollie James, Detective Jackson County Sheriff’s Dept. - John Beegle,  Prospect Western owner - Ashley Hill, and Prospect Western Property Manager - Marley Cunningham on preventive measures to thwart future disturbances and discuss preventative measures for speeding.  The property manager at The Summit was invited but didn’t attend.  Mayor Begley stated that our local law enforcement has more urgent issues to respond to than noise complaints and asked that the group give input on preventive measures that could be worked on to reduce further disturbance complaints throughout Forest Hills.  Prospect Western has installed parking lot cameras with remote control access and have implemented resident parking passes and a towing company to tow anyone that is not a resident.  They give residents a warning for the first disturbance violation, then a fine, and if they do not comply, they are evicted.  Participants suggested requesting speed limit signs for Stadium View Drive and another one to be added to North Country Club Drive (which has since then been done.)  Mayor Begley said that residents noted vehicles picking up speed heading down the slope from The Summit on Stadium View Dr. toward North Country Club Dr. and asked if patrol could monitor the Stop sign at the end of Stadium View Drive in a prevention effort.  There was further discussion about the continued parking along the shoulders of Stadium View Drive citing a safety concern for emergency vehicle ingress/egress particularly during WCU home football games.  Mayor Begley will reach out to the DOT for potential solutions.  Participants shared contact information.

  • Roads:  Councilmember Rice said he has not received any complaints from residents.  He noted he has not driven the loop since the completion of the paving project. 
  • RPO/TAC: Councilmember Michelsen said that Municipalities and County officials met to discuss prioritization progress that runs every two years regarding bridges, roads, etc.  They are looking at future potential projects.  He said that a sidewalk had been discussed that would go from the Village to the entrance of the Jackson County Rec. Center.  Councilmember Michelsen said that one big development was the criteria the state has been using for each project is going to allow smaller areas to put forward projects on a different scale and change the criteria, he said that this may help for these areas to have a better chance to have projects addressed with a new formula in place. 
  • Planning Board: Councilmember Corwin said they anticipated funding sources available for the valley but no large amount of funding was found from one source.  He said that DOT needs permission from the property owner to look into the Stream Mitigation Credits funding option. 

Mayor Begley noted that two appraisals would be required for most options. 

  • Village Safety: Councilmember Brooks was absent.  Mayor Begley said that Jonathan did not receive a 911 report but did receive a patrol report.  She read the patrol reports with 2 instances being a noise complaint at The Summit and one at Prospect Western, a party was broken up at each area.  She noted that these dates were prior to the parking lot cameras installed at Prospect Western. 
  1. Unfinished Business:   
  • Patrol contract draft: Mayor Begley said Councilmember Brooks made the changes requested per Council’s discussions and that she submitted the contract to Attorney Anthony Fox to review, and he said he would contact Attorney Heather Baker to discuss it further before contract execution. 
  • Pedestrian Advisory Shoulder:   Councilmember Corwin gave an update on the application status and said that J.M. Teague Engineering has finalized the Advisory Shoulder Experimental Application Project, reiterating that the application is only for the Village-maintained roads.  He said that DOT is interested in future extension to State-maintained roads if it proves to be successful. 

Councilmember Michelsen mentioned that the dates need to be updated on the application and asked when the application will move forward if accepted. Councilmember Corwin will contact Anna at J.M. Teague for that information.

Councilmember Michelsen made a motion for Councilmember Corwin to sign the application as Mayor Pro Tem and submit the application to the Federal Highway Commission for the Pedestrian Advisory Shoulder, Councilmember Rice seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

  • Entrance sign paint fading:   Mayor Begley found a sign company in Franklin to give a quote but will need to check with BH Graning (who installed the sign in the rock columns) to see if the sign has to be removed in order to be painted. 
  • Monthly evening Whee Market 6-9p:  – Mayor Begley said that the market is not going to have a fall trial of this evening farmer’s market.  The County said no animals could be at the market, they are looking at vegetables, crafts, food, etc.  She reported that the Whee Market and the WCU Eco Cats are planning a roadside litter cleanup along Hwy. 107 the week after WCU’s homecoming game. 
  1. New Business: 
  • Community Roadside Litter Pickup event on November 2nd:  Mayor Begley said that the area CWS rep will be attending and bringing reusable water bottles as give-a-ways to participants.  She said that the WCU Eco Cats and some students indicated that they would attend and some community members confirmed that they would be there.  Mayor Begley said she has a small white top canopy tent and the advertisement signs to use from last year’s cleanup.  Mayor Begley will provide a drinking water jug and asked for Council’s approval to purchase snack bars for the event.

Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve a purchase of snacks up to $50. for the Community Roadside Litter Cleanup event, Councilmember Rice seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

  • Meeting tables and chairs purchase for new Forest Hills Assembly Building space – will discuss when a certificate of occupancy has been issued for the space and when the lease has been signed.  Mayor Begley asked for ideas for furniture.  Councilmember Rice will search the cost of table and chairs online that are versatile to also be used for Forest Hills community events. 
  • Discussion – any changes to consider with the ordinances or the Future Land Use Map at this time based on the series of work sessions public? – The Council discussed that the valley property has been and still is zoned R-1 on the Zoning Map, it is currently listed for sale on the MLS at $10.5M, and that the Forest Hills boards will resume work on potential funding options for acquiring green space once there is clarification from the property owner on the amount of acres he is willing to sell and how much he is willing to sell it for.  Mayor Begley noted that the property owner has changed course several times on the number of acres he’s willing to sell to Forest Hills and has not responded with a clear direction on any amount he’s willing to sell a portion of it to Forest Hills for.  She said he’s stated that Forest Hills would have to come up with $10.5M for the entire property, but that she felt a lower offer could be considered.  Councilmember Corwin said that changes can be considered for the Future Land Use map or ordinances but until the valley property is addressed, it may be best to not consider more changes. If any further changes are to be made, there will be guidance on the process from the Jackson County Planning Dept. and assistance from the Village’s attorney. 
  • Rodeway Inn -Mayor Begley said that the property owner of the Rodeway Inn was invited to a meeting a few years ago, after he purchased the University Inn property and mentioned at that time that they would be revamping the property with landscaping and opening the pool, but that hasn’t happened yet.  She asked for input from Council should the property come up for sale again, would a YMCA be a potential possibility.  Councilmember Corwin said that he didn’t feel the customer base would be large enough.  Mayor Begley suggested asking the property owner to attend a future meeting for a status on the business as a motel. 
  1. Additional Public Comment:  Ron Yount spoke about the dip in the road that DOT is supposed to repair.  Councilmember Rice said he would follow up with DOT.  
  1. Adjourn: At 7:50pm, Councilmember Corwin made a motion to adjourn; Councilmember Rice seconded the motion, unanimously approved.